Reading Seamus Heaney Again
The Second Commandment
by Donal Mahoney
is pretty specific: Thou shalt not take
the Name of the Lord Thy God in vain.
It’s one of the few commandments
I seldom break but the other night
I was reading Seamus Heaney
and was torn by the beauty
ringing in my ears and “Jesus Christ! ”
slipped out of my mouth but I
don’t think I said His Name in vain.
I spoke in high praise of a poet who
has left behind a body of work that
leaves me gasping for a respirator.
But the Second Commandment
is pretty specific so I plan to ask
Father Kelly if my 'Jesus Christ! ”
while reading Seamus Heaney
was a mortal sin, and if he says yes,
I’ll be careful reading Heaney again
because if I find better poems
and 'Jesus Christ! ' slips out again
I might have a heart attack and die
pajama-clad in my old recliner.
I could wake up ablaze in Hell.
I'll have to be careful reading
Seamus Heaney again.